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A few words about backup

You’ve must heard at least a thousand times that if you need at least 3 different copies of your data, and preferably two at physically different places to have a real backup. And to be honest, this is kind of true. Anything can happen, and the worst attitude is if you think it cannot happen to you. It’s not a secret, it can happen to you, even worse, it will.


Better have a good strategy. Here’s how we do it.

Plan A, B and C and D

It may look funny, but this is actually the reality. When I’ve finished a show, I personally back it up onto a raid network drive. This is the first one. That raid drive is automatically backed up to another backup raid, this is the second one. They are in the same building, but in completely different rooms. Let’s say this is our plan A.

Plan B is the next step. Doesn’t matter how ancient it may sound, we backup everything on cd/dvd. We use special HHB media which is guaranteed to live on minimally for 50 years. I don’t really trust this number, but who knows… So after the QC process, we have the physical discs which are stored in a dark, dry and fireproof place. Before we stop here, another disc goes to an offline facility for safety.

Plan C is the good old tape archive, everything (well, almost everything) backed up here, and our Plan D is right another huge raid drive system.

backup system

It may seem a little paranoid, but actually it works, and there was not an occasion when we lost any material. As I see it, we need to revise this process a bit, but change is very hard here as we have about 80–100 TV and Radio shows per year, around 200 classical concerts, 100–160 jazz/pop shows, many-many spots for advertising, huge amount of webcasts and a few film shoots. So any change must be well thought out and tested in real life parallel to the existing one.

File formats

In audio (obviously) the only accepted format is Broadcast Wave file. It doesn’t matter how new, fancy and fantastic formats are available, the archive only accepts this. For the latest stage we use Wavelab, where we fill in every possible detail about the show: dates, mixer’s name, archiver’s name, performers, etc. and export this data in simple text format and as cvs file. It may sound funny that we use these “old” formats, but these are proven. Any old or new machine, be it Windows or Macintosh or Linux or whatever can read and write them.

For various reasons we also make Excel sheets from these little documents, but our archived ones are always the simple text and the cvs files.

That’s all for today, except I have a mini personal rant. Why on earth Steinberg’s Nuendo and Wavelab is not really compatible regarding to markers? I know some nasty workarounds, but it seems quite counterintuitive that a simple marker export/import needs tricky workarounds…

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